MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. The third Il-76 military plane of Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces with virologists, doctors and equipment departed for Italy to provide assistance in combating the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Russian Defense Ministry told reporters on Sunday.
"The third Il-76 plane of Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces departed from Chkalovsky military airfield with Russian military specialists and equipment for the Italian Republic to provide assistance in fighting against the coronavirus," the ministry said.
The military aircraft will head to the Italian Air Force’s military airport Pratica di Mare, some 30 km to the southwest of Rome. It will deliver "a task force of military doctors, specialists in the field of virology and epidemiology with modern equipment on diagnosing and carrying out disinfection events."
Two more Russian planes with specialists and medical equipment took off for Italy earlier on Sunday.
The Russian defense ministry said earlier that at President Vladimir Putin's instruction it had set up an air taskforce of nine Il-76 planes to deliver to Italy eight mobile brigades of medics and about 100 military viroligists and epidemiologists, equipment for disinfecting transport vehicles and territories, as well as medical equipment.
In a telephone conversation with Italian Prime MInister Giuseppe Conte, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Russia's readiness to offer urgent assistance to Italy to help it cope with the novel coronavirus infection.